Notes from Thomas Driver on his way to Scotland. This enjoyable journal was submitted by Diane Kaye for our reading enjoyment.
SOCIAL AND PERSONAL
Thos. Driver informs us that he has today bought his tickets from B.B.Northrop for passage for himself, wife and youngest son, from New York to Glasgow on the Anchor Line steamship Batavia, to sail from New York Saturday, May 2d. He expects to be in Glasgow about the 11th, in Kirkwall,Orkney, about the 14th and at home in Westray, Saturday the 16th. This will be Mr. Driver's first visit to his native country in thirty-four years, and his old friends who are still living, will no doubt, heartily greet him. His hundreds of friends in Racine will join in wishing him a pleasant time.
Notes From a Racineite on His Way to Scotland
ON BOARD THE STEAMSHIP CIRCASSIA-MAY 13,1885
Editor Daily Journal
Out on the ocean with the splendid fair wind, expecting to be in Glasgow Thursday afternoon.
The dimensions of this magnificent ocean palace are: 4,272 tons burdon, length on deck, 414 feet,(pace your sidewalk and view the length) draft of water, 24 feet, height of bows above water, 14 feet. You will be apt to suppose that the ocean wave cannot have much effect on such a monster, but our experience has been different. The sea has broken over her bows, rolled over her sides, and given us a general kicking up, and turning many of our insides out causing us to say "oak," but she is built of iron. We had five days of strong, hard winds and heavy sea running, and one day she had to lay under reefed trisails and enough steam to keep her steady. How wonderfully she surmounted the gale, which was very severe for this season of the year.
We left New York Saturday May 2d, and expect to be in Glasgow the 13th. Our accommodations have been good as could be expected, but somehow or other the provisions did not taste very good. You can guess the reason, but today everything is delicious, because of smooth water and fair wind. One thing more worthy of special notice is the kindness, attention and courtesy of officers and men in attending the wants of the sick. If any were not able to get out of their berths they were not forgotten by the untiring stewards and stewardess. Of course, those who were well enough had to turn out of their berths in good time and eat their meals at the table.
Rev.W.H.Jeffers and wife, from Alleghany,Pa., are on board. He has preached both Sabbaths and his wife played the organ. The services were held in the magnificent drawing room. Last Sabbath evening there was a prayer and praise meeting held in the second cabin, conducted by a young Scotchman from Winnipeg,Manitoba.
Thursday, 14th-Got to Moville, Ireland, 4am and landed passengers. Have just passed the Mull of Cantyre and are opposite Elsie Craig, steaming up the Firth of Clyde. It looks as if vegetation had taken a big start since we left Wisconsin three weeks ago, as everything here is beautiful and green. We expect to get landed early this afternoon at Glasgow, and home at our destination Saturday, exactly according to the programme published in your issue of April 3d.
I must now close and get on deck to view the beautiful scenery up the Clyde.
IN THE ORKNEYS
Chronicle of the Journey of Thomas Driver to His Old Home
KIRKWALL,ORKNEY MAY 18,1885
We got to Greenock, Scotland, Thursday, May 14th at 3pm, was examined for smuggled goods by custom officers before we left the ship, she being anchored out in the river Clyde. Nothing seizable was found and we got ashore as quick as possible, got on the train and off for Glasgow without a moments delay. There we were transferred to another train for Edinburg and Laith, having only a few minutes in Glasgow to eat supper. Got to Leith at 11pm and put up in Commercial hotel for the night, the first night in a steady bed for two weeks, and that did not seem very steady. Even the chairs on which we sat seemed to be swinging. Got up early in the morning, but was disappointed to find that the steamship Magnus would not sail for Kirkwall until 3pm. After breakfast we took the train for Edinburg fair. We then went to Edinburg Castle (one of the seven wonders of the world,) which we were shown all through, including Queen Mary's bed room, which would be reckoned a small affair nowadays, only for the ancient relics that are in it. We were then shown into a room which contained the crown of Scotland inclosed in a glass case, along with some jewlery which is magnificent. We were shown into many apartments of very ancient note, such as the land of our adoption could not produce. The big old gun, Mons Meg, our son Philo thought it fine fun to get inside of. It is large enough to take myself in. The gaurd who showed us around was very courteous. From thence we went to a museum, which I believe, is not to be excelled in the world. I shall not attempt any detail, but simply say it is enormous. Our trip to Edinburg was well worth our trouble, but Chicago will beat them all hollow with her modern styles of architecture. I have not seen a street that would compare with some of the streets in Chicago for their magnificence, but perhaps I did not see at their best.
We left Leith for the north at 3:30pm arrived in Aberdeen at 11, left at 5am, 16th, got to Wick at 2pm, left at 4am, arrived in Kirkwall at 9pm (good daylight). A large number of our friends were on the pier ready to meet us, and we were recognized by many of them after an absence of thirty-four years. You ought to have seen the meeting. We attended service in St.Magnus Cathedral, Sunday, 17th,(auld Kirk of Scotland). Some people had come in to that kirk seven miles to see us. Today it is blowing a cold north wind, consequently cannot get to the Island of Westray, our destination.
IN THE ORKNEYS
WESTRAY,ORKNEY, JUNE 6,1885
I have received every day's JOURNAL. from May 4th to the 16th---may get some more to-night. I don't know what I could do without such regular news from home. We are enjoying ourselves here the best we can, but the weather still continues very unpleasant, and we have too much Scotch mist (rain) and cold. But we are still having a delightful time among the associates of our youth. They all claim to know me at first sight, and everybody who has freinds in America (even if they should be thousands of miles distant) are asking for them, but we can tell them about a great many who are in Racine and Chicago.
The kindness shown to us by the people is wonderful, but the changes are great. We expect to get to some of the neighboring islands next week. Our little son Philo is having a huge time, he is showing some of the boys here how to milk the " Kie, dight the Bires," and play the "piano," which is a surprise, as that is only " wark for the lasses." He tells his grandmother that their living here is very plain, but he thinks it is very healthy.